-- Outside of some stitches and a bit of a headache, New Jersey Devils
defenseman Anssi Salmela
said he's feeling OK after taking a scary hit to the head and leaving the ice on a stretcher during the second period of Monday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers
at the Wachovia Center.
Salmela, in just his third game since being reacquired by the Devils in the Ilya Kovalchuk
trade last week, was walloped in the head by Jeff Carter
almost instantly as he scored a shorthanded goal just 61 seconds into the period that gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead.
Salmela stepped around Mike Richards
at the bottom of the right faceoff circle on a shorthanded rush and flipped a wrist shot past goalie Michael Leighton
. As he followed through on his shot and went through the low slot, he never saw Carter coming the other way. Carter's shoulder impacted heavily against Salmela's head, knocking him unconscious. He spun him through the air and landed face-first on the ice just to the right of the Flyers' goal.
Salmela laid face down on the ice for several minutes being treated by medical personnel from both teams. He was moving his legs before being strapped to a stretcher and taken off the ice. He received more treatment in the locker room, but felt good enough that he didn't need to go to the hospital.
"I said I feel pretty good, so he (doctor) said I don't have to go (to the hospital)," said Salmela. "I'm going to see doctors tomorrow. We'll see how I feel."
The only damage was a few fresh stitches on the bridge of his nose -- likely from his visor when he landed on the ice -- and a chipped front top left tooth.
Salmela said he had almost no recollection of what happened.
"Not much from the goal," he said. "I didn't even remember at first that I scored. But now I'm getting little more clear. … I'm getting better now. Just a bit of a headache but I think everything else is good. Just lucky."
"You hate that, no matter who it happens to, you hate to see a player get hit like this. But I don't blame Carter at all. He's an honest player and he plays hard." -- Devils coach Jacques Lemaire
Salmela said he hadn't seen the replay of the hit. "Maybe I'll watch it tomorrow," he said.
It had been a fast-paced affair prior to the hit, but there was a definite lull for a few minutes while players from both teams tried to put the scary image behind them -- including the red stain left on the ice to the right of the Flyers' goal.
There was no penalty on Carter on the play, nor was there any retribution against Carter.
"You hate that, no matter who it happens to, you hate to see a player get hit like this," said Devils coach Jacques Lemaire
. "But I don't blame Carter at all. He's an honest player and he plays hard."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com.